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13 Taiwanese karatekas return from Kazakhstan with COVID

7 Taiwanese karate athletes test positive for Omicron variant

Taiwan's karate athletes pictured with President Tsai in April. Many of these athletes took part in Kazakhstan tournament. (Faceboo...

Taiwan's karate athletes pictured with President Tsai in April. Many of these athletes took part in Kazakhstan tournament. (Faceboo...

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday (Dec. 28) announced that a 13th member of a delegation of karate athletes who participated in a tournament in Kazakhstan has tested positive for COVID.

On Dec. 24, a 22 member delegation of karate athletes returned to Taiwan from an international competition in Kazakhstan. By Sunday, 11 members of the delegation had tested positive for COVID, while a 12th was diagnosed with the virus on Monday.

Of the 12 cases reported on Monday, 10 had mild symptoms, including fever, cough, and runny nose. Two were asymptomatic, and the Ct values of the dozen cases ranged from 11 to 34.

During a press conference on Tuesday, CECC Spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) announced a 13th Karate practitioner had tested positive for COVID. He added that seven athletes have been found to have contracted the Omicron variant of the virus thus far.

UDN cited Hung Chih-chang (洪志昌), deputy director of the Sports Administration, as saying that seven or eight countries and territories have reported that their athletes tested positive for COVID after returning from the tournament, including Japan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Lau Chi-ming (劉知名), an athlete from the Hong Kong team, which now has five COVID-positive members, complained that many people ignored epidemic prevention regulations and did not wear masks, reported RTHK.

As of Dec. 23, local Kazakh media had cited health officials as saying that nearly 75% of the population was fully vaccinated and that 80% had received at least one dose. The 2021 Asian Karate Championships were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan and included 500 competitors from 23 countries and regions.

When asked by the media whether Taiwan would consider changing Kazakhstan's status to a high-risk country, Chuang on Tuesday said that there had not yet been reports of Omicron in the country. He also pointed out that there were athletes from many countries and the event took place at a time when Omicron is starting to spread globally. Therefore, the virus could have been brought to the country by any one of the athletes from the numerous nations that participated.

Taiwanese Olympic bronze medalist Wen Tzu-yun (文姿云) trained with the team in Kazakhstan but did not compete in the tournament and tested negative for the virus. Three of her teammates took home medals at the tournament in sparring, including Ku Tsui-ping (辜翠萍), who took sliver, and Gu Shiau-shuang (谷筱霜) and Wu Chun-wei (吳峻維) who captured bronze.

Updated : 2022-05-26 23:44 GMT+08:00